Many Christians have heard about Israel’s tabernacle established by Moses or the temple that was built by Solomon, but very few are aware that King David also established a dwelling place for God.
In 1 Chronicles, you can read the story of this third tabernacle. The Psalms are essentially the songbook of this tabernacle. Throughout Israel’s history, whenever a king turned back to God, they reinstated the Davidic model of worship. Amos and Isaiah both prophesy about David’s tent being restored, and in the New Testament, James quotes one of these prophecies at the very first church council. The theme of the tabernacle of David is far-reaching throughout the Bible.
David was passionate about the presence of God before he became king. So his first act after uniting Israel in Jerusalem was to go get the ark of the covenant—the place of God’s manifest presence. He set up a new tent (or tabernacle) for it on a hill called Mount Zion, and then he established 33 years of musical worship.
In Israel’s original tabernacle, they gave God burnt offerings, but David’s revolutionary approach was to offer songs and prayers as worship. These were sacrifices of praise (Heb.13:15). By the end of the 33 years of David’s tabernacle, they had trained over 4,000 musicians to worship the Lord.
One very unusual part of this story is that David and the Levites he appointed to be musicians had complete access to the ark. This was very different from the tabernacle of Moses, where God’s presence stayed hidden behind a veil. David’s behavior would’ve been so wild in his time, but it foreshadows our access to God through Jesus.
These were the glory days of Israel—this passionate worship was happening nonstop and all 12 tribes were united. The spirit of David’s tabernacle is rising again in our day as God’s people offer Jesus extravagant worship day and night around the world.
I share more about where David got these radical ideas for his new tabernacle in Episode 74 of the Presence Pioneers podcast on Charisma Podcast Network. Also, check out my new book, David’s Tabernacle: How God’s Presence Changes Everything.
Matthew Lilley is an author, worship leader, intercessor and Bible teacher with a passion for God’s presence, extravagant worship and prayer and a desire to see cities transformed by Jesus. In 2004 he founded Presence Pioneers to help fulfill his calling to connect, equip and plant presence-centered Christian communities. He has helped launch two houses of prayer in North Carolina and has also served in national leadership roles in worship and prayer movements such as Burn 24-7 and Awaken the Dawn.
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